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Last Month's Top Sellers

1. BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE - Hug Of Thunder
2. FAZERDAZE - Morningside
3. FLEET FOXES - Crack Up
4. BEACH HOUSE - B-Sides
5. WHITEHORSE - Panther In The Dollhouse

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FEATURED RELEASES

Saturday
Aug052017

ARTHUR ALEXANDER - Arthur Alexander

"Arthur Alexander is not nearly as well known as his influence suggests he should be. His songs have been covered by the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley. He also helped found FAME studios, the Muscle Shoals, Alabama-based studio in which Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and many more recorded. Alexander's 1972 self-titled album has now been reissued by Omnivore recordings, including six bonus tracks.
 
This was a 'comeback album' after a bit of a career slump in the late '60s, and his sound was appropriately updated from the early '60s pop/R&B of his first album, 1962's You Better Move On, to the country-tinged Southern soul displayed here. Alexander's slight drawl on the word "home" from "I'm Coming Home" enhances the comfy feeling in this music, as does the acoustic plucking on "It Hurts to Want it so Bad" and "Down the Back Roads." The energetic horn arrangements on most of these songs evince a lively soul influence, and the tropical rhythms of "Call Me in Tahiti" and the gospel of "Thank God He Came" make for a rich musical gumbo..." - Exclaim

Saturday
Aug052017

B BOYS - Dada

"“Every day is a struggle to hold on to a sense of myself,” Britton Walker shouts on “Another Thing,” from his band B Boys’ full-length debut Dada. It’s hard to take him all that seriously. From their album art to their song titles (cue up “B Boys Anthem” to get things started) B Boys present a unified front of “selfness.” The Brooklyn trio—Walker, Brendon Avalos, and Andrew Kerr—embody the idea of a band as self-contained unit, a singular force against an indifferent world, a unified wall of inside jokes, jittery noise, and propulsive post-punk.  

On Dada, the band’s coherence is illustrated by compact songs, equal parts WipersSST hardcore, and brainy Devo-esque abstraction. Like their one-time tour mates Parquet Courts, B Boys are as witty as they are snotty, couching their poetic tendencies in a knotty squall. The songs are hooky, taut, and driving. Occasionally, like on the synth-led, Tubeway Army–recalling “Fade,” the crew land in more tempered territory, but mostly, they keep things speedy." - Flood Magazine

Saturday
Aug052017

WILSON PICKETT - Sings Bobby Womack

"Between 1966 and 1968 soul great Wilson Pickett recorded no less than 17 songs written by an up-and-coming singer/songwriter with whom he had much in common stylistically. Bobby Womack’s own time as a regular hit-maker was still a few years off; it was largely the popularity of Pickett’s versions of his songs which set him on his way to soul superstardom.

For years fans of Pickett and Womack have been hoping for a collection which brings together all of their collaborations – not least Cliff White, who conceived this project way back in 1984. At long last, here it is. (The reason for the lengthy gestation period is explained in the booklet.) As well as those Womack compositions, by way of a bonus the CD includes Pickett’s very apt version of Womack mentor Sam Cooke’s classic ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ and both sides of Womack’s own lone Atlantic single.

Recorded in Memphis and Muscle Shoals with the leading studio musicians of the day – including Womack on guitar and backing vocals on many of the tracks – “Wilson Pickett Sings Bobby Womack” is in many ways the great lost Pickett album, and one which compares very favourably with any of his official Atlantic releases of the period. Extensively annotated, handsomely illustrated and with a cover design that pays homage to those late 60s Atlantic albums, this is a compilation no Pickett fan can afford to be without." - Ace Records

Tuesday
Aug012017

VA - BADBADNOTGOOD Late Night Tales

"BADBADNOTGOOD have long been known for their innovative approach to jazz, hip-hop and electronic music, so it comes as little to no surprise that their handpicked Late Night Tales compilation reflects those sensibilities. The 22-track comp gives listeners a rare insight into the band's personal go-tos and twilight staples; even the press release alludes to this new level of intimacy, commenting that BADBADNOTGOOD are "transmitting parts of themselves through the music they select."
 
Unsurprisingly, the music they select is beautiful and carefully crafted. The album features such acts as Boards of Canada, Stereolab, River Tiber, Thundercat, Delegation, Charlotte Day Wilson and the Beach Boys, to name a few. Of course, any Late Night Tales compilation would be incomplete without its famous cover track. For BADBADNOTGOOD, that comes in the form of the band's melancholic take on Andy Shauf's "To You."..." - Exclaim

Monday
Jul242017

VARIOUS - Bob Holmes' Nashville Soul

"In the 60s and 70s, Nashville was a hothouse of R&B, soul and jazz. Bob Holmes was a central character.

With the publication of E Mark Windle’s book House Of Broken Hearts, the city of Nashville’s black music scene is being studied in detail for the first time since Kent issued the CDs “Uptown Down South” and “Music City Soul” in the late 90s. To coordinate with the book we are releasing another compilation of Nashville soul, this time concentrating on the work of multi-talented songwriter, producer and arranger Bob Holmes. Those earlier CDs featured Excello/A-Bet and Poncello/Ref-O-Ree recordings respectively. This new collection also draws from those sources, plus Bob Holmes’ personal tapes and other third-party licenses. The time span is 1965 to 1980.

Sandra King’s ‘Leave It Up To The Boys’ is an expensive record to find and shows how Holmes was stylistically influenced more by New York and Detroit than Memphis. Freddie North’s beautiful big beat ballad ‘Don’t Make Me Look So Bad’ and the Paramount Four’s stunning ‘You Must Leave Her Because You Love Her’ are similarly polished. Holmes worked extensively with R&B producer Ted Jarrett on superb late 60s recordings by great Nashville singers such as Gene Allison, Roscoe Shelton and Peggy Gaines, and even wrote and produced ‘Tip On In’, a hit for blues veteran Slim Harpo." - Ace Records

Monday
Jul242017

WAXAHATCHEE - Out In The Storm

"...An unsentimental candor defines Out In The Storm, which is not so much a breakup album as a scathing post-mortem that leaves neither party unsullied. As Crutchfield put it in an interview, the relationship’s intermingling of the professional and the romantic meant its dissolution “rippled throughout every little corner of my life,” and Out In The Storm is a blistering, unsentimental inventory of all the places that hurt can infect.

But it’s hardly a slog. On the contrary, Crutchfield has channeled her pain into some of her catchiest songs to date. Opener “Never Been Wrong” marries the record’s typically pointed lyrics to a wash of electric guitars that would fit in on a Superchunk album. (That the lyrics also point back at Crutchfield—“I spent all my time learning how to defeat / You at your own game, it’s embarrassing”—is also typical.) The guitar-led “Silver” recalls The Strokes, and “Brass Beam” has the warmth of a bar-rock confessional, as a subtle organ boosts Crutchfield singing, “I just wanna run, yeah, I don’t wanna fight / I just wanna sing my songs / And sleep through the night.”...

This being Waxahatchee, Into The Storm offers plenty of quieter moments as well, particularly in the album’s back third: “A Little More” puts Crutchfield’s lilting voice and acoustic guitar front and center, with little adornment. “Fade,” which closes the album, strips everything down further, some quiet piano the only accompaniment to her voice and guitar. It’s the most direct descendent of American Weekend’s sound and ends the album on a somber note as Crutchfield sings, “I’m fading, fading, fading, fading away.”..." - AV Club

Friday
Jul072017

FAZERDAZE - Morningside

"Amelia Murray is exactly what bedroom pop has been crying out for. Too often, records of this ilk-centered around fleeting shoegaze guitar lines and hushed musings on seclusion-have little to offer beyond invitingly human aesthetics. Seemingly, not hers. On her first full-length record under the Fazerdaze moniker, she crafts some of the most complete and worthwhile dream pop in recent memory. Morningside is near-overflowing with youthful brightness and new ideas; it's totally refreshing.

"You know I'm shit at having friends/I'm sorry I can only do my best" Murray croons before launching into the blistering chorus that punctuates "Friends." Elsewhere, the loud-quiet dynamic is eschewed for Beach House-esque lucidity; closer "Bedroom Talks" smartly stitches summer ambience with impossibly immersive composition. This is a record as capable of sedating as it is of startling. If it wasn't for Murray's knack of effortlessly projecting warmth, listening to Morningside would feel almost invasive-there's a sincere depth to the songwriting throughout.

Much akin to the way that fellow New Zealand native Ruban Nielson (of Unknown Mortal Orchestra) works, you get the sense that every moment of music produced by Murray is the product of intense emotional and technical labor in equal parts. Better than that, the Auckland musician makes the vehement sound effortless. It's hard not to be excited about this project." - Under The Radar

Saturday
Jun172017

MEET ME IN THE BATHROOM

"She set out to write the definitive oral history of a rock scene that produced not just the Strokes and LCD Soundsystem, but also the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol, TV on the Radio, Vampire Weekend and the Kings of Leon in addition to lesser-known groups like Jonathan Fire*Eater and the Mooney Suzuki. The result, Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001–2011 – out now – tells the whole story in astonishing detail across 621 pages. "This was an important and poignant period of time in the city," she says. "And I wanted to document it"...

...The timeline of the book coincides with the collapse of the record industry thanks to file-sharing sites like Napster. "A working title of this book was The Last Real Rock Stars," says Goodman. "Interpol is really emblematic of this reality. Their first album came out in the era of rock stardom that's familiar to pop culture. It's what you see in Almost Famous or Behind the Music. By the second record, which leaked, it's like, 'Oh, so we just started this career in this old paradigm and now we're still in this thing, but we don't even know what it is.' These people are all relatively young, but they're also relics of an era that's gone." - Rolling Stone

Saturday
Jun172017

CONGOS - Heart Of The Congos (3CD Reissue)

Rolling Stone #82 in 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time
"With all due respect to the Wailers, this 1977 set by the vocal duo of "Ashanti" Roydel Johnson and Cedric Myton is probably the most psychedelic and spiritually potent roots reggae set ever made, and the greatest achievement of famed Jamaican producer Lee "Scratch" Perry. Unearthly harmonies bob in a whirlpool of echo and reverb alongside lowing cyber-cattle and other sound effects as the men sing of Jah, Africa, and the Bible, making art that's as much religious ritual – and mind-altering substance – as it is music. Which is exactly the point."

Rolling Stone #33 in 40 Greatest Stoner Albums
"Plenty of classic reggae albums came in instrumental dub versions, remixed for maximum hypnagogic effect. But this Lee Perry-produced classic by vocal duo Cedric Myton and Roydel Johnson is one of the peaks of Jamaican roots music in large part because it came pre-baked. The mesmerizing grooves and transporting tunes of "Fisherman" and "Congoman Chant" are layered with studio muck that grabs and holds whether you're feeling irie or not."

Wednesday
Jun072017

VARIOUS - Nicholas Winding Refn Presents The Wicked Die Young (LP only)

"Director Nicolas Winding Refn will release a compilation of songs that inspired his recent horror movie The Neon Demon.

The Wicked Die Young spans punk, disco and electro, including tracks by Suicide, Dionne Warwick, Giorgio Moroder, Johnny Thunders and Sparks. It also features music by Refn’s previous collaborator Cliff Martinez, who has scored Refn’s past three films, and his son Julian Winding, who contributed to Only God Forgives and The Neon Demon.

In a 2015 FACT interview Refn explained why integrating music into moving image is so important for him. “Even when I shoot films I play music on set, in between takes,” he said. “It helps you convey emotion better for actors — and brings people to a place of being that helps their performance.” - FACT Magazine

Monday
Jun052017

JUSTIN WALTER - Unseen Forces

"To describe how Justin Walter makes his music gives only a vague idea of what it might sound like, but let's try anyway: He loops and layers improvised melodies made mostly on the trumpet and the EVI (Electronic Valve Instrument), a rare wind-controlled analog synthesizer from the 1970s. The results are sublime.  The EVI has a warm, warbly sound, evoking a similar sort of moody nostalgia to Boards of Canada's less sinister stuff. The melodies have a pleasant, wandering feel, diatonic enough to follow along but freeform enough to lose oneself in...
 
Walter plays with patience and grace that allow the listener room to think and feel, but he never lets go completely. While one of Brian Eno's latest works was culled from an app that generates music from an uncaring algorithm, Walter's music still sounds like he cares very much. There is intention here, however gentle. Even the structure of the album seems thoughtfully curated to patiently woo us at first, then get more playful with distortion and faster rhythms in the middle, and finally lull us to our final destination — be it transcendence, sleep or something in-between." - Exclaim

Tuesday
May302017

REAL ESTATE - In Mind

"Real Estate have never been ones for taking giant leaps. Not for them any sudden changes in genre, double gatefold concept albums or other signifiers of a band wanting to “expand their horizons”. Instead, the New Jersey outfit’s career to date has been one of subtle shifts, quietly refining their pastoral indie-rock over the course of three albums. At a time when the genre is receiving criticism for its relative timidity, such steadfastness might seem like a strangely risky move. But, as fourth album In Mind shows, this is a band who are aware of where their talents lie and are happy to stick to them; there aren’t many, you suspect, who could match Serve the Song’s iridescent jangle or the sun-dappled psych of Stained Glass. The moments of experimentation, when they come, are brief and understated: a frayed synth line on album standout Darling, a smoky burst of reverb on the droning jam session Two Arrows. But, for the most part, this is an album that maintains Real Estate’s status as indie’s model of consistency." - The Guardian

Monday
May222017

ALICE COLTRANE - World Spiritual Classics

"This week, 10 years after Ms. Coltrane’s death in 2007 at age 69, Luaka Bop will release the sounds of the ashram on “World Spirituality Classics 1: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda,” a compilation culled from four cassettes she recorded between 1982 and 1995. Only available at the ashram, and now out of print, the cassettes have long been sought by collectors, selling for as much as $450 apiece on the internet. The collection illuminates a missing phase in Ms. Coltrane’s remarkable musical journey from bebop to free jazz to New Age...

The newly remastered recordings feature Ms. Coltrane singing for the first time on record, leading a large choir through Eastern-influenced devotional music, with lyrics chanted in Sanskrit but shaped by the African-American church tradition. “That touch of gospel feeling in there never existed with the Hare Krishnas, I can promise you that,” said Baker Bigsby, a Los Angeles audio engineer who worked with Ms. Coltrane for over 30 years. “It’s a little bit of Detroit inserted into this Indian music...” - New York Times

Monday
May222017

VARIOUS - American Epic OST

"The American Epic project–a three-pronged operation consisting of a recording project, three-part PBS miniseries, and feature film–is finally seeing the light of day. It’s been gestating since 2015, when Jack White and specialist in all things “Americana” T-Bone Burnett united with Robert Redford to executive produce the project, which deals with American pop and folk/blues music in the 1920s, the beginnings of sound recording, and the record market. The first part of the miniseries premieres May 16 on PBS. The companion documentary will premiere in theaters in early June.

Prior to all this, there will be a companion book released on May 2, and shortly afterwards on May 12, a huge amount of American-Epic-related albums. Legacy Recordings will release a soundtrack and 100-song box set featuring archival recordings. White’s label Third Man Records will release a soundtrack and a selection of archival recordings used in the series/film in LP form, and Columbia will release an American Epic Sessions album, which features new performances of early folk and pop songs by the artists who appear in the series."- SPIN

Saturday
May202017

DO MAKE SAY THINK - Stubborn Persistent Illusions

"Ideas, especially creative ones, can be wild beasts, difficult to wrangle and control. They are born in our thoughts and intentions but ultimately take on lives of their own. Like life itself, this process can be messy, complicated, and fraught, no matter how hard we try to fit it into our neat categorical frameworks. Do Make Say Think make music that captures these phenomena in a sonic vernacular that, on their latest LP, is aimed at interrogating the Stubborn Persistent Illusions we find ourselves embroiled in every day.
 
The nine instrumentals that make up the band's first album in almost as many years are all written in major keys. They have a warmth and earnestness that permeates their complex emotional movements. Their soundscapes seamlessly blend the organic and rustic infrastructures of urban life.
 
...Stubborn Persistent Illusions can seem daunting with its hour-long runtime, but it's a worthy monolith that can be explored on the listener's own terms. These songs don't necessarily need your attention for validation — they have their own agency. Inevitably, they will come home to roost." - Exclaim

Saturday
May202017

FEIST - Pleasure

"...Pleasure gives you the sense that you’re hearing the album being recorded in real-time — a simplicity that is sure to make for a powerful live performance when Feist tours later this year — but there are certain luxuries that can only be captured in the studio, and the album is at its most playful when the outside world leaks into Feist’s own. She’s always enjoyed popping the insular bubble that recording an album provides — think of the chirping birds on “The Park” or the busy nature tableau of Metals closer “Get It Wrong, Get It Right” — but here her use of environment is often accompanied with a winking sense of humor. Two specific instances stick out: the end of “Any Party,” which closes on the faint hum of a party as the hook of lead single “Pleasure” bleeds out of a passing car, and the conclusion of “A Man Is Not His Song,” which fades into a Mastodon sample that serves as a nod to the music landscape’s overbearing masculinity. Both are discursions that provide some levity, and it demonstrates that the real world has no qualms about encroaching on the protective casing that Feist creates for herself.

Still, the album feels largely unmoored from time and expectation. Feist spent much of the six years between albums soul-searching, wondering if she was ever going to play music again, and it’s telling that she found a creative spark in something as distinctive and personal as her singular voice and presence. Metals felt like a pointed reaction to The Reminder’s popularity; The Reminder was, at least in part, a shoot-for-the-stars attempt at mainstream success. But Pleasure is a long look inward, a no-frills depiction of Feist at her rawest, and her personality and compassion are what come through strongest on these songs..." - Stereogum

Tuesday
Apr252017

RON SEXSMITH - The Last Rider

"Ron Sexsmith maintains his melodic consistency on "The Last Rider," 15 pop songs absorbed by the threat of loneliness and ways to avoid it. The St. Catharines native recorded his 13th solo album with his touring band, adding to its ease and intimacy. Sexsmith has said he thought this could be his final recording for some time, but the pleasure of the experience might make him reconsider.

"Dreams Are Bigger" has a singalong chorus worthy of a long-distance dedication — "If your dreams are bigger than your worries, you'll never have to worry about your dreams" — with musical hints of New Orleans, while "Man at the Gate (1913)" was inspired by a postcard purchase and dwells on anonymous lives and connections across the years, also recurring themes in the Sexsmith catalogue...There are no surprises here but don't be distracted by the apparent familiarity of some of the tunes. Sexsmith's range may not be wide but his aim is true." - Hamilton Spectator

Tuesday
Apr252017

GIDON KREMER - Preghiera: Rachmaninov Piano Trios

"It would be very easy for Daniil Trifonov, only just 26 and with the world at his feet, to spend his time in the solo spotlight, so it’s good to hear him playing chamber music. And this is a fascinating disc, bringing together Trifonov with Gidon Kremer – 70 this year – and cellist Giedre˙ Dirvanauskaite˙, one of the founding members of Kremerata Baltica. Kremer has never stopped exploring and in the promo DG video he talks about this being the right time to be immersed in Rachmaninov: ‘Playing his music is like attending a Mass. You enter a spiritual space where every emotion is allowed but the main emotion remains love, which is familiar to everyone.’

The Second Trio sets off with a quiet solemnity, the two string players duetting ardently above the steady tread of the piano. There’s much to thrill here, but still more striking are the moments of stillness and the way the movement unfolds seamlessly. The Maestoso section (4'40"), where the strings launch into driving triplets, is truly compelling but just listen to the way the tempo relaxes again, the high-lying cello melody (6'00") played with great poise by Dirvanauskaite." - Grammophone

Tuesday
Apr252017

VARIOUS - To Love Somebody: Songs of the Bee Gees 1966-70

"Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb always considered themselves to be songwriters first and performers second. Indeed, Barry wrote his first song, ‘Turtle Dove’, at age nine on an acoustic guitar he received for Christmas 1955. After their move to Australia in 1958, the brothers, managed by father Hugh, found plenty of work performing, writing, recording and appearing on TV – opportunities which would have been hard to come by had they remained in the UK. Barry signed his first publishing deal at 15 and supplied songs for Leedon Records’ stable of artists, as well as for the Bee Gees themselves.

Artists from the full spectrum of musical styles have covered the Gibbs’ songs. From US stoner rock bands to more easy listening fare, stopping off at psychedelia, lovers rock, power ballads and classic pop. The top soul singers of the late 60s seemed to be particularly adept at interpreting their numbers. Barry’s guitar playing was basic, often tuning to an open chord and barring with one finger. This lack of chops in conjunction with a simple melody left plenty of space for the soul singers of the day to put their personal stamp on the songs." - Ace Records

Tuesday
Apr252017

SALTLAND - A Common Truth

"When loud, angry, "alternative facts" are consistently demonstrated to trump objectively known realities and threaten the very natural makeup of the world around you, gestures towards the very notion of truth begin to feel revolutionary. For Rebecca Foon, whose environmental and social activism is inseparable from her work as an artist (in ongoing and former musical projects Esmerine, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, the Mile End Ladies String Auxiliary and Fifths of Seven), that's enough to spur action and reflection.
 
Her second solo release as Saltland, A Common Truth, offers meditations on climate change, unfolding in spellbinding passages that entrance with deeply resonating, emotional dispatches on the realities facing the natural world, healing warmth and cosmic awareness. Built primarily from Foon's ethereal vocals and both acoustic and processed cello, that all manifests across the record nebulously, but there's an unmistakable gravity to it that insures it's all operating in the same realm..." - Exclaim